Rescued from myself: Rescued from the streets, can she rescue herself from him?

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You probably need to notify several shelters. A dog can pass through several jurisdictions just by wandering a few blocks in some cases. Also, the dog may have been transported. Also, I would notify Adix, a boarding facility that serves as the shelter for Mountlake Terrace. When you are at the shelter filling out the Found Dog form, also check their book or listings for any reported lost dogs that might match the one you found.

Shelter employees and volunteers won't necessarily take the time to look through the dogs reported lost and the dogs reported found to see if there are any matches. You may want to turn the dog over to a shelter, which would probably work out okay in most cases. As noted above, the shelter you take the dog to might not be the one that has jurisdiction over the place the dog escaped from.

Also, a shelter would only hold the dog for three days, and not actively look for the owner in most cases. Useless Bay Sanctuary has been able to reunite dogs that would have already been adopted out by a shelter if they had been surrendered. Besides local shelters, you should drop of Found Dog fliers at local pet food stores, veterinarians, doggie daycares, and groomers. Prevent another escape. When a dog comes under my care, in most cases I will put two leashes on the dog.

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One leash will be attached to a Martingale collar, and the other leash will be attached to a harness. A dog can slip out of a collar or a harness, but not both. Put a note on the outside of the front door telling anyone who enters the house that there is a new, unfamiliar dog inside. Any new person entering the home needs to be properly introduced, probably using the calming signals discussed above. Either squeeze in through a barely-open door, or come in through the garage after the garage door is closed, or put the stray dog in the kitchen before opening the front door.

If you have a stray dog in your car, pull the car into the garage and close the garage door before opening the car door to let the dog out. Prepare for an escape. It is not unlikely that a dog found wandering escaped from somewhere and may try to escape again. Any stray dog under your care should have some sort of temporary ID with your contact information.

I would stop at the pet store and have a tag engraved, but you can also just write your name and number on a piece of paper with a marking pen, and then attach it to the collar by wrapping it with clear packaging tape. Take several clear pictures of the dog, from several angles, in good light, so you can tell someone what the dog looks like if he escapes. As an extra precaution, you can collect a scent article from the dog so that a search dog could track him if he ran off.


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There may be a search dog in your area that could track a lost dog, but only if you have a useable scent article. Useless Bay Sanctuary often takes the extra step of putting a GPS collar on a found dog, so he can be found quickly if he escapes. We use Tagg brand collars. I know of hundreds of lost dogs that looked skinny, dirty, scraped, and matted when they were finally found. They looked abused even though their owners had been looking for them nonstop since they disappeared.

A dog that was friendly and happy might cower and cringe if he has been running away from people for days or weeks. A dog that is limping may have been living like a king in his previous home, and he might be limping because he was hit by a car after he escaped. Laws vary from place to place, and it can be difficult to find out what the law is in your area even if you ask an authority that is supposed to know.

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A shelter is treated differently under the law, and they can adopt a dog to a new family after 72 hours in most cases. At Useless Bay Sanctuary, our current understanding of the law in most jurisdictions is that anyone besides a shelter is obligated to try to reunite the dog with the owner for 30 days. In practice, we often hold a dog for longer than 30 days because we want to have the dog spayed or neutered before going to a new home, and we want to assess the people applying to adopt a dog. Many of the dogs we have saved have been claimed by their owners after 72 hours but before 30 days.

Please note: different attorneys have interpreted local laws differently, so you may wish to consult an attorney about the legal status of a dog you found. If you surrender the found dog to a shelter, and then adopt the dog from a shelter if no owner claims him during the 72 hour stray hold, then the dog is yours, without a doubt.

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If you keep a dog for 30 days, actively search for the previous owner, and notify the shelter that you have this found dog, there is still a chance that an owner could come forward at some point in the future and ask for the dog back. Ownership of the dog might need to be decided in a court of law, which can be expensive no matter which way the decision goes. If the dog has a microchip, and you were unable to find the owner using that information, the owner who implanted the microchip could use that as proof of ownership to claim the dog even if you tried to find the owner for 30 days or more.

You would be wise to document your efforts to find the original owner, in case it might end up in court one day. Keep in mind, too, that the law does not consider whether or not you have the best intentions of the dog in mind. In the eyes of the law, a dog is property, like a car or a shoe. A dog's value, according to the law, depends on a human's ability to exploit the dog for a profit. If you consider a dog to be a priceless member of your family, the law may not really care. Some people think that if they keep a dog in their home or at a rescue for 72 hours and no one tries to claim the dog, then the dog becomes their property.

Help us to help them

This is absolutely wrong. This is theft, plain and simple, and you could be charged with theft if you tried this. The 72 hour stray hold only applies to shelters and humane societies recognized by local contracts with cities and counties as the animal control authority in their defined area of jurisdiction. Get vaccinations soon. Because this stray dog will come in contact with your own dogs or with other dogs on the street, be sure to vaccinate the dog soon. Useless Bay Sanctuary collects donations for veterinary expenses, and we are prepared for these costs.

If you are not willing to pay for basic veterinary care, you need to surrender the dog to a shelter or work with a nonprofit like UBS.


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Do not neuter a dog before the end of a 30 day search period. Yes, almost all dogs should be spayed or neutered, but you can do that after the 30 days of searching for the owner. You could be sued if, for example, you had a dog neutered and then the owners came forward and claimed you deprived them of income because they planned to breed the dog. Getting sued for thousands of dollars will not help you help lost pets. Require Proof of Ownership. This can be pictures of the person with the dog, or it could be veterinary records, adoption papers, or licensing documents.

In some cases, a person might think it is really their dog when it just looks very similar. Proof of ownership might be faked.

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Should you keep a stray? - Useless Bay Sanctuary

Even if someone has a picture of herself with the dog, it could just mean that she found the dog last month and claimed it as her own without looking for the owner. Or it could be a picture of a dog that happens to look very similar. Use your best judgment, and document everything.

If you were shown convincing proof of ownership and you later learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that the person claiming the dog was not the owner, you would want some way to track that person down and make things right. If you have proof a dog came from a situation of abuse or neglect. No one would want to return a dog to an owner who was abusing or neglecting a dog.

By law you may have no choice. If abuse is clear, but you feel you have no legal recourse to prevent them from claiming the dog, do report it to your local animal control agency, with as much proof as you can gather.

PDF Rescued from myself: Rescued from the streets, can she rescue herself from him?

If you try to hide a dog from a suspected abusive owner, you may just make things worse for yourself and for the dog. Also, you could be wrong, and you might be breaking the law to protect a dog when in fact it is actually returning to a loving home in spite of appearances. A person suspected of animal abuse is innocent until proven guilty.

If you are thinking of breaking the law to protect a dog, think twice. Rehoming a dog. Every day I see posts advertising a found dog as being available to go to a new home.

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If I was on vacation and the people who were supposed to be watching my dog lost her, I would be heartbroken and enraged to come home and find that the person who found my dog gave her away. If you would like to see the dog adopted by a new family that will treat her the way she deserves, be sure to go about everything in a proper and legal manner. If you are rehoming a dog after 30 days of searching for the original owner, be sure to take the time to get to know the potential adopter. Ideally, you want to see how they interact with dogs, to see if it would be a good fit.

Take into consideration the personality of the dog. Some potential adopters would be great for one type of dog and wrong for another sort of dog. Do not list a dog as free to a good home.

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